Have you ever made a charcuterie board? I'm not going to lie, I had to google how to pronounce it the first time - it's "shaar-koo-tr-ee." While the art of curing and preserving food is thousands of years old, the French perfected the art and its now a mainstay of restaurants and home parties around the world. This more modern interpretation of "charcuterie" blends the art of preparing and assembling an assortment of meats that are paired with different accompaniments such as toast, fruit, cheese, and sauces.
We've been making these at home for years long before I knew "charcuterie boards" were a thing. There is really only one thing to keep in mind - it's all about presentation. Natural wood serving boards like a vintage cutting board or bread board work perfectly to achieve a rustic look. Smaller sizes are ideal for intimate dinner parties and nights in with a friend or special someone. Larger sizes work best for families or larger gatherings.
You'll also need a quality knife! We recommend Forge de Laguiole®. Ours as shown below is their folding knife with a light horn handle. We're thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for one! Be sure to enter at Maison de Mings! Each Original Forge de Laguiole® knife is manufactured by hand, by a single craftsman, in the village of Laguiole in Aubrac, France.
We love the charcuterie board approach to mealtime. It's as simple as assembling your favorite meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables (primarily olives, peppers, and other preserved summer seasonals), nuts and crackers. It's also perfect as a quick hors d'oeuvres for a party. They're wonderful for entertaining and holiday gatherings, and after a major holiday (think Christmas or New Year's Day) if you have a few small leftovers you want to use up or leave out to snack while you enjoy time with family. . . in other words, they're amazing anytime!
To get the look of a true charcuterie board, aesthetic is important. We like using our large bread board as well as small bowls to add height variation and interest. Also consider the color choices of your cheese, meats and fruit. Depending on the season, you can opt for lighter or heavier options. A little garnishment like fresh eucalyptus, rosemary or lavender adds visual appeal, and when served as an appetizer, the smell of fresh herbs mixing with artisanal cheeses stimulates the appetite like nothing else. Also don't overthink it- just make sure there's color variation and keep things fun. In this board, we added a few middle eastern offerings for variety, and have found that a 'surprise' inclusion keeps these from ever getting old. These boards are also a great excuse to clean out the fridge and pantry from all the random olives, candied fruits, cheeses, and nuts you've been meaning to use since your last party and haven't!
As always, thank you for following along. We would love to see your charcuterie board if you make one! Be sure to tag us on Instagram at @maisondemings.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas season!